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Radio FieldsAnthropology and Wireless Sound in the 21st Century$
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Lucas Bessire and Daniel Fisher

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814771679

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814771679.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Frequencies of Transgression

Frequencies of Transgression

Notes on the Politics of Excess and Constraint among Mexican Free Radios

(p.160) 8 Frequencies of Transgression
Radio Fields

Jeffrey S. Juris

NYU Press

This chapter examines the role of Mexican radio within grassroots movements for social change, with particular emphasis on the relationship between illegality and autonomy among “free” or pirate radios. It considers the work of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) to promote the legalization and proliferation of community radios in Mexico and compares this strategy with the free media movement's alternative approach: instead of pushing for legal access, free radios encourage communicational autonomy by taking the airwaves through illegal transmissions—a proposal that poses a significant challenge to both private and state-oriented media. Through an ethnographic account of the politics of excess and transgression within Radio Autónoma, an urban, largely youth-based free radio station in Mexico City, as well as comparative interviews with their counterparts in other urban and rural/indigenous communities, the chapter argues that illegality is a necessary condition as well as an obstacle to the politics of autonomy among free radios in Mexico.

Keywords:   illegality, pirate radio, community radio, Mexico, free radio, illegal transmission, Radio Autónoma, Mexican radio, World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, transgression

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